Updated 09/15/2003 11:41 AM
First woman heads Albany Academy for Boys
As fall descends on the campus of the Albany Academy for Boys, there's change in the air. It's actually change at the top -- on July 1, Caroline Mason started as the first female headmaster of the 190-year-old prep school, while continuing as the head of its sister school, the Albany Academy for Girls.
Mason said, "So far, I really like what I'm doing. It's a challenge and I learn something new every day."
Mason isn't just the first woman to be headmaster of the Albany Academy for Boys, she's also the first person, male or female, to head both the boys' and girls' schools at once. But she stresses the schools have not merged, and she hopes they will maintain their separate identities.
Mason's main goal is to strengthen the academics at the school. She also hopes to raise the enrollment of the boys' school back to where it was a few years ago. Mason understands it may be difficult to keep the school's traditional education while keeping up with the times, but she aims to do just that.
She said, "We want balance. We want books that kids want to read, but we're not going to abandon the foreign languages and the hard sciences."
Mason said her transition into her new position has been relatively smooth, and she has faced little, if any, opposition to being the first woman to head a prestigious boys school.
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She said, "I certainly haven't experienced any of those kinds of things you might think would have happened, like people being annoyed or resentful."
Mason is technically interim headmaster of the two schools, and she will be there through at least 2005. Whatever happens after that, Mason said she'd like to be remembered as a good listener. To help that, she said her door is always open to students.